Category Archives: Life

Leo – Month 7

On August 10th this munchkin turned 7 months old and I cannot believe that’s possible.

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He. Is. A. Ridiculous. Human.

That I made.  With some help from Jon.  MAN I don’t want to screw him up.

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Along with how tough breastfeeding could be, and that you should always make sure your nugget will take a bottle, another thing nobody really prepared me for was HOW FLIPPING messy mealtime is. Woah.

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I have compiled a list to keep track of things we’ve loved and used to death and couldn’t live without (for my own records and to share with friends that have babies) and that Bumbo chair will NOT be on it. So dumb.  SO DUMB.

But this hat will be….

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It’s funny because obviously Leo has had a lot of ‘firsts’.  Most of his life is made up of ‘firsts’.  But watching him experience the thrill of a swing for the first time made me smile so big I thought my face would crack. This parenting gig is really good stuff.

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He looks like a little bald potato in these outdoor photos.  Haha.  It’s tough when your hair doesn’t show up!  : )

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Hardest thing about month 7 was all of the traveling and moving around we did.  It hadn’t affected him in the past but the last trip we took (to the lake and Ada, right on the tail of a weekend in the mountains) he bounced ALL over the place and it affected his eating habits, weight gain and sleep schedule.  It only took us a week to get back on track but it gave me mounds of anxiety until then.

Easiest part of month seven has been the transition to solid foods.  This baby LOVES to eat and he’s made it a breeze for us (save for the mess).

Worst part of month seven has been his newfound disgust with riding in the car in his carseat.  He’s not a fan.

Best thing that happened was Leo gained a bit of independence by spending a night with Grandma Mindy, and taking several bottles!  He did great and it was awesome for this momma to have (wayyy too many) cocktails out on the lake with our friends!

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Most Unexpected thing about month seven is how much he already seems like a little kid…not a baby! I feel like his personality is so clear (I hope) and I always have to remind myself of how little he still actually is because he seems so grown all of a sudden.

Most Loved Baby Item in month seven has been his Ikea highchair!  $20 and a breeze to clean.  I also purchased this cushion to go with it as he likes to bounce around a ton and the highchair isn’t the cushiest. I’m not a huge fan of the red and blue striped so I also ordered a custom chair cover from this Etsy shop (the one I ordered is sold out, here’s one similar) and this genius mat that I hope helps with cleanup!

Funniest thing he’s started doing is mimicking me saying ‘mama’.  Pretty sure he’s just copying what I do with my mouth – but it sounds like mama to me and is music to my ears.

Milestones are plenty again.  Adding tons of food to his diet, working hard on sitting up solo, scooting across the new basement floor, mastering the art of picking up cheerios, and olympic swim training in the bath.

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Favorite Memory from month seven HAS to be spending time with Leo at the lake (THANK YOU JANET) just the three of us.  The cabin is an incredibly sentimental place for Jon and I and it was beyond special to have time there, just us, as a family.  I know this might sound like hyperbole, but it made me so happy and feel so fulfilled, that when it was over I cried for almost a day straight.  : )

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Funniest Photo: 7Month-13

Leo – Month 6

When it comes to music, I’ve always been a lyrics kind of girl. It’s not that I’m NOT an instrumental kind of girl (hello, I love DMB) or the kind of person that can’t just appreciate the ‘feel’ of a song. I can, and I do. HOWEVER, my heart belongs to the words. If, as a musician, you are able to combine all of the above I will crumble into a puddle of love for you.

A few nights ago Jon and I were discussing concerts we’d been to (which as it turns out is A LOT) and which were our favorites and why.  For example, my favorite vocal experience is Ray LaMontagne (before he hit it big) at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver.  It was him, alone on a stage with a spotlight and a guitar, hiding behind nothing.  It was ABSOLUTELY breathtaking, magical and gut wrenching. Favorite ‘band at a bar’ experience was Shovels and Rope at the Ogden Theatre.  I argued that show might be the best show by a band I’ve ever seen. Electric is the only word to describe it. My favorite concert ‘memory’ has to be Jon and I watching Dave Matthews play on the beach in Hawaii with Tim Reynolds. Once in a lifetime.

But, when it comes to combining ‘all of the things‘…one show stands out.

Four years ago, my mom and aunt were in Denver for a visit. Their visit ‘wish list’ included a concert at Red Rocks (if you live under said rock, it happens to be the greatest music venue in the world). I needed to make it happen for them. One of the concerts while they were here was The Avett Brothers. This ended up being SO perfect as it fell on a weekend, we were able to get a group to go, and they are one of my brother Greyson’s favorite bands and I had wanted to see them forever. They had a world class opener (Shovels and Rope) and everyone was so pumped.

It’s interesting because for the first time, I went in with zero expectations.  We were ‘only’ going because my mom and aunt wanted to see a show and this was the option that weekend. To say our expectations were exceeded is an understatement. Shovels and Rope (see above) opened the show and they were awesome. Jon and I already wanted to see them again before they even finished their set. Then came The Avett Brothers. Their gratefulness to be playing Red Rocks, the excited fans, their energy, and be still my heart…the lyrics. They combined ‘all of the things’ and I did turn into a puddle, brought to actual tears by the lyrics in a song called Offering.

Babe I’m lost
Cause I don’t know what to say
Hmmm I love you
Want to make you my wife someday

Don’t wanna steal you
Of a young woman’s light
To me it’s perfect
Just wanna do you right

And I’ve known others
And I’ve loved others too
But I loved them cause they were stepping stones
On a staircase to you

Sometimes I act foolish
I don’t know what to do
Please babe try not to judge me
For my offering is true

And I dream of children
We can call our own
Watch ’em run around in the front yard
From the front porch of our home

To me it’s perfect
Just wanna do you right

Nothing spectacular about the song, but we were in the early stages of our fertility battle and my heart had temporarily set up shop in my throat. We were realizing that our dream of having a baby was going to be much more difficult to actualize than we ever imagined and I was pretty heartbroken about it. I’ll never forget hearing it for the first time. That concert experience solidified the The Avett Brothers as one of my favorite bands to see live, and we do, every chance we get.

They usually come to Denver on or around the 4th of July and we had planned to go this year with some good friends of ours.  It was going to be a big night for us, our first night out leaving Leo with a sitter. He would be just shy of 6 months old and I was ready. Ready for some independence, ready to reassure myself I could still be who I used to be, ready for a night out with my husband at one of our favorite places in the world seeing one of our favorite bands. I was ready for that full circle experience and so hoped they would play Offering and I would maybe be brought to tears again, but this time with my heart back in my chest and full of gratitude.

Well, Leo had other plans.

This has all just been a long winded way of getting to the point of this post.  I have sung Leo’s praises in these posts for months now, and I still do, but boy…month 6 was without a doubt the toughest.  All at once he had a MASSIVE sleep regression, going from waking only once a night, nursing, and going back to sleep until morning to waking every 1.5 to 2 hours ALL…NIGHT…LONG. He also insisted on sleeping with me in bed and I am not a co-sleep kind of girl.  Then on top of that, out of the blue, he refused to take a bottle.

Needless to say we did not/could not go to the concert.

It was tougher on me than I was willing to admit at the time due to my sleep deprived stupor and the fact that he’s never really been too demanding and I knew this was part of the deal of parenting. We just sold the tickets and moved on. We finally got the sleep issue under control THANK GOD, but the little stinker just would not take a bottle. Not from my mom, not from Jon, not from anybody. If the baby only eats from momma then momma has to stay put.  Therefore, I could not attend my best friend’s bachelorette party in Park City and I…was…crushed.

I remember sitting looking at him while he was nursing and I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. It really sunk in that if he wouldn’t take a bottle I could never be away from him for more than three hours. That’s tough to understand if you haven’t been there, but (excuse my french) it feels fucking intense.

Leo has been such an easy baby that I knew we were due for some adversity around here. I definitely snapped at Jon in the middle of the night a few times, and had a sobbing meltdown over missing the bachelorette party, but other than that I was proud of how he and I navigated through those few tough weeks (which felt like months). It was also eye opening to realize just how hard it’s going to be for us going forward having isolated ourselves from family by living in Denver.  ‘We’re an island’ I like to say.

I’m not sure how to end this post other than to say I did find a silver lining in missing the concert. I was able to reflect on just how much Jon and I got to do and experience in the 4+ years we waited for Leo that would have been much more difficult (if not impossible) with a baby.  I’m grateful for that time with him and the living we did in those years.

Anyway, soon enough we’ll be back in action going to concerts and on trips…right?!?!

Just nod your head yes, please.

Here are some photos of Leo on his 6 month birthday, July 10th.

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I can’t believe he’s 6 month’s old.  I love him so much.

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He looks like such a little geek in this collar.  : )

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I love the little animal details on this outfit!

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Hardest thing about month 6 were the three weeks of sleep deprivation.  Brutal.

Easiest thing about month 6 was sleep training, once we decided to do it. It was amazing and we should have done it sooner.

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Worst thing that happened month 6 was, as stated above, missing Erin’s bachelorette party.

Best thing that happened was taking Leo to Ada and Pelican Lake for the 1st time.  Post to come on that.

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Most unexpected thing was his eagerness to start solids and all the teeth popping through.

Most loved baby item is his adorable teether from my friend Emily.  It’s currently his favorite toy and has been a life saver during teething.  The brand is SweeTooth.

Funniest thing that happened was his first interaction with a dog in our front yard who’s name turned out to be…Leo!

Milestones: most notable is getting teeth and starting solids!

Favorite memory (though I have a million) I’ll say was having Auntie Erin and Stanley in town.

Favorite outfit…must be the hat.

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Favorite photo…because I actually made it into one!

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Funniest photo…from when he blew out his diaper and all I had were these pants.  LOL.

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Leo – Month 5

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What can I say that I haven’t already said? This child radiates happiness out of every single pore. He is so happy, so content, so loving and I CANNOT get over it.

He just turned five months old and, as I predicted, THIS is now my favorite age (as will be every single one to follow). I don’t say these things to project some sort of ‘fairy tale’ life that we’re living with our ‘perfect baby’.  I say them because they are 100% true and I feel so insanely lucky (not blessed…lucky) that he is ours.

Here are some photos that I took a few mornings ago.  No lie, I spent less than 20 minutes taking them and had tons to choose from because he is a gosh darn natural in front of the lens.  Just you wait.

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…..WHAT is happening?  Oh, that’s just my heart bursting.  Carry on.

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This one makes me laugh because he is LITERALLY doing a ‘senior photo’ pose.  On his own.  In a diaper.

He kills me.

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If anyone dares to claim that babies cuter than this exist…I will require proof.

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Also if you’re looking for me later, you can find me in his dimples.  I live there now.

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We’re teething over here if you can’t tell.  : )  Thank you Emily Woltjer for one of his favorite (and cutest) soothers!

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GAH!

I’m sorry but I just love his stinking face SO much.  And yes, I’m his mom and therefore find him cuter than likely any other human alive does, but I just want to get through to you what a beautiful soul this little boy is.  He is more than I deserve and I spend every day trying to soak up every bit of the love he gives me.  I knew I would love my baby but I didn’t anticipate that I’d love him so much for who he is, not just because he was mine.

As Jon tells him every day, ‘Leo, you’re just the best’.

Hardest thing about month five…don’t kill me but it’s really hard to even come up with one.  Hmmmm….I know.  The hardest thing about month five is how sunny it’s been and if you know CO you know that the sun is INTENSE here so we’ve had to wear sunscreen (which is a pain to put on) and alter our outside schedule to avoid the heat of the day.  I know, I know, what a great problem to have.

Oh, and duh.  Being away from family and friends.  Absolutely gut wrenching if I dwell on it for too long.  That’s the hardest part of life currently.  We were very fortunate this month to spend over a week with my parents in D.C. and a long weekend in Minneapolis where we saw many of our favorite people.

Easiest thing about month five was the transition to a four hour eating schedule because the little angel just did it on his own.

Worst thing about month five was how busy Jon was with work and personal travel.  It’s all good stuff, but it’s tough on all of us to spend that much time apart.  Thankfully, it’s smooth sailing for the rest of the summer!

Best thing, for me, about month five has been his capability to reciprocate my love and adoration for him.  He’s always been an ‘affectionate’ baby, but suddenly he’s like a little human being and he interacts with me in such a real way that just fills my heart with so much joy. Kid lights up like christmas every time he looks at me.

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Most unexpected thing about month five was FOR SURE his ability to roll with the punches we threw his way (May was CRAZY), specifically our trip to D.C. and then leaving him with babysitters for the first time in MN.  He’s just a champ and I don’t know why I ever doubt him.  : )

*side rant: this blog is going to get REAL boring if all I can come up with every month is what a gem of a human I birthed.  : )

Most loved baby item for Leo is without a doubt these dumb wooden balls I bought from Pottery Barn kids for purely aesthetic purposes in the nursery (I’d link them but they aren’t on the website anymore).  They are his (totally random) absolute favorite.

My most loved baby item this month has been his…play gym?  I don’t even know what it’s called but he LOVES it and would entertain himself in it for about an hour if I didn’t get so needy and scoop him out before that.  : )

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Funniest thing to happen in month five was maybe this, and I can’t explain it, you had to be there…

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Milestones are abundant.  Out of swaddle, two teeth, belly laughing, extraordinary hand eye coordination, rolling and scooting every which way, and I’m pretty sure he’s a genius.

Favorite memory of month five, and maybe of his life so far, is when he and I were lying together outside of the Jefferson Memorial in D.C.  It was SWELTERING hot and we’d been running him ragged for days and he was cooked and needed a break.  We just plopped down in the grass and stared at each other and giggled and smooched.  It was epic.

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Favorite outfit might have to be this one because…collar.

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Favorite photo is obviously a tie between these two because no mere mortal could EVER choose.

 

Funniest photo…because photo shoots are never as glamorous as they seem. #faceplant

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IMG_6941Jon and my first ‘date night’ sans Leo – Chad and Anna’s spectacular wedding!

IMG_6929CHEEKS!!  Typical flight with this guy.

IMG_6892Celebrating Uncle Greyson’s birthday!

IMG_6661I was lucky to spend my very first Mother’s day with my very own momma.  : )

See you at 6 months!  (tear)

 

Leo – Month 4

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Well hello there cutest baby alive.  : )

Leo is 4 months old (4.5 at the time of publishing) and I was right about a 3 month old being the best because while a 4 month old is pretty great – they come with the 4 month sleep regression which is no picnic.

Life for me these days revolves completely around sleep. HAHA – no. Not my own. His. We’re just doing it all at once over here, transitioning out of the swaddle, taking naps in the crib instead of his rock and play, one feeding a night, and putting him down awake so he puts himself to sleep. Whew.

Anyway, here are some cute photos.

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Hardest thing about month four was a developmental leap happening at the same time as a sleep regression. I think we’ve made it through to the other side but there were a tough couple weeks in there.

Easiest thing about month four is forgiving him for his sleep issues because going in to get that kid after he wakes up is one of the GREATEST THINGS that happens in life. He is so happy and pumped to see you and smiles so much it seems like his face will burst.

Worst thing that happened month four was Leo and I both got sick at the same time the night before Jon left for Mexico for 4 days.  Again, combined with a developmental leap and a sleep regression.  It. Was. Rough.

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Best thing that happened month four was the INSANELY incredible response I got to this post. It’s one of my most read posts to date and certainly my most commented on. I received texts, emails and Facebook messages that were so kind and thoughtful and it truly means the world to me that people read this blog and then take the time to personally respond.

Most Unexpected thing about month four was how much easier getting his shots was than the first time. He took it like a champ and I was way less tragic.  : )

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Most loved baby item is Sophie the giraffe. I always thought people claimed their baby liked it because they liked it so much (because it’s cute) but he’s seriously obsessed with her. I think it’s because she’s ergonomically perfect for holding and chewing. In short, she’s not overrated.

Funniest development from month four is his apparent love of ‘blondes’. His favorite thus far seems to be Jon’s aunt Janet, but he’s yet to meet a blonde he doesn’t love. I like to tell myself it’s because he’ll only ever love one brunette (me).

Milestones are many.  Blowing bubbles, screeching, finding his feet, reaching and grabbing, and my personal favorite…opening his mouth like a baby bird and ‘kissing’ my face.  He also went through an upchuck phase which thankfully has passed. But I looked like this multiple times a day for awhile…IMG_6447

Favorite Memory from month four is of two parts. First was Leo meeting his Grandpa Bob for the first time over Easter weekend. The second is when Finley met Leo.  SO adorable.  IMG_6418IMG_6395

Favorite Outfit…seems pretty obvious.4Month-6

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Funniest Photo (Leo didn’t get the memo that it’s called HAPPY hour…)IMG_6498

Embracing my fears.

Remember those emotional anxiety symptoms I was having? Well, I couldn’t seem to shake them. As a matter of fact, they got worse. I actually found myself lying awake in the middle of the night a few times which is like adding insult to injury for a new mom. The lack of sleep only intensified my anxiety over the next couple of days. Finally, at around 4:30 a.m. one night, it dawned on me that a few specific things over the last week had really exacerbated my fears about the future and Leo’s health, happiness and general well being. Once I identified where this pent up angst was coming from my brain was able to better make sense of it all.

A blogger that I have followed for almost ten years, who now has a two year old little girl, posted about she herself having a troubling few weeks. She credited the majority of her ‘funk’ to a life long friend of her daughter (and little boy) suddenly passing away in his sleep. The thought of that happening to ANYONE, let alone Leo, is unequivocally unbearable for me to even think about. That is one thing all parents worry about and lose sleep over from the first day they bring their baby home and the fact that it actually happens to people is tough to take. I think I was in such shock to read that story on this ‘happy little blog’ I have read every day for the past 10 years that I didn’t fully process how deeply upsetting it was to me.

Another thing that happened was a colleague of Jon’s passed away. He was traveling in Europe with his wife over 6 months ago when he suddenly collapsed. He was hospitalized overseas (away from his friends and family) for many, many weeks and then finally brought home to then months later be declared brain dead. Recently, his family made the impossible choice to remove him from life support. The thought of his children, what his wife has gone through these last six months, and the fact that he had the best of his life ahead of him is just…it’s horrible.

Both of these incidents are things you think will never happen to you, could never happen to you. But they happen to people all the time and it is so, so scary. I said in my last post that it’s not all gloom and doom over here, that I’m not as paralyzed in fear as it seems, and that remains true.  I just find that it helps me to process and sort through things by writing them down and also feel that I can’t be the only one who thinks about this stuff.

All of this emotional baggage was brought to a head by a completely random night of movie viewing. I simply do not have the time or the energy to watch movies these days, but for some reason I was overcome with the desire to see the film Lion. I took Leo to three different RedBox locations before I was able to procure the DVD. That doesn’t sound like a ton of effort, but I assure you that with a three month old, it is. Once Leo was asleep I started the movie and from the opening scene until the final credits I sobbed.  I didn’t get teary, I didn’t just sniffle, I ugly cried my way through the entire thing. I already knew the true story that the movie was based on but even so, I just completely unraveled. I had to shut it off half way through and take a break because I was such a mess.

The story is about a little boy that gets separated from his family, essentially lost, and the journey that his life takes after. I couldn’t decide who I was crying for the most; the boy, his birth mother, his brother, his adopted parents…you could find reasons to empathize with them all. The mothers were an obvious place for my heart to go, but I kept going back to the little boy and putting Leo in his place. It was excruciating to imagine. The film ended with a final gut punch as they said the little boy had been pronouncing his own name wrong, mistakenly saying it was Saroo instead of Sharu, which in Hindu means Lion. Leo’s name means the same and we often refer to him as Leo the Lion. I immediately went into his room, WOKE HIM UP from a nap like a certified crazy person, and held him and cried for about ten minutes.  I told you, I was a total mess (but seriously, the movie is really good and don’t let my intense reaction to it scare you away).

The moral of the story is, the movie was tough to get through but it was also cathartic as it allowed me to release all the feelings I’d been keeping locked up for sake of putting on a happy face for my family. It was in thinking about all of these things that I was able to realize, truly, how much my husband and little boy mean to me and that it is a bit scary to admit HOW much. It’s like when we were trying to get pregnant, I didn’t want to admit how much I wanted it because then I would have to admit how sad I was if it didn’t happen. Or why it was tough for me to be unabashedly happy when I did get pregnant, because if it didn’t work out, if something went wrong, I would have to admit how devastated I was. I was protecting myself. And now, with Jon and Leo, if I really allow myself to fall as in love with my new family as I am, I have to not only wear my heart on my sleeve but have it walk around outside my body in the scary world every day.

I found this quote yesterday which could not have been more perfect or come at a better time.

No one ever told me how much fear is hidden in love.

So yes, it may seem that I have a few irrational fears right now, but just remember that I’m new to this mommy gig and having my heart triple in size overnight takes some getting used to. Going forward, the trick for me will be to just embrace the fears because at the end of the day the fears are there because of all the love that’s there too.

Yes, there are photos.  : )

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This is parenthood.

I have been unusually emotional these last few days.

Perpetually on the verge of tears, it feels like my heart is being tugged into my throat. Combine that with a sudden and acute awareness of my mortality and how short life is.

I know, heavy stuff.

My worry is that these feelings have set up shop in my life and don’t plan on leaving any time soon. In fact, if I’m totally honest, I’m preparing myself to live with these exact feelings for the rest of my life. This is what parenthood is…isn’t it.

Uffda.

Before Leo was born, life was just sort of happening around me. Sure we made plans and propelled our life forward, bought a house, made investments, went to the dentist. But I was waiting for something, for a baby and for our family to start, and so I just sort of went through the motions thinking that once we had our baby, then life would ‘really’ start.

Well, he’s here and it has started and now I’m in a panic of how quickly it’s all going to end. I lie awake at night wondering if we should live in Denver or somewhere else, stay in our house or move to the suburbs, breast feed until he’s five or consider 6 months a success. I wonder if earlier that day when I laid him down on his play mat and left him alone for 5 minutes I did irreparable emotional damage.

You know. Things like that.  : )

I realize a lot of this is completely normal and let me assure you not nearly as distressing as it sounds. It’s just that I can see so clearly into the future now that Leo is here, the problem is that there are many different futures. How do you choose what’s right?  It’s intense!

To make the things that Jon and I dream about possible (a place in the mountains, fun family vacations and experiences, a big ‘forever’ home) he has to work really, really hard. That will likely mean less time at home for him, more Leo duties for me, and more stress all around. The alternative is he pumps the breaks at work, probably doesn’t reach his full potential, and we make ourselves ok with the fact that we’ll never have a place in the mountains or give our kid(s) the experiences we hoped to. Maybe it doesn’t have to be one or the other, maybe we can have both?

Suddenly living in Denver isn’t as straightforward as it has been. Raising kids is going to look a lot different than I imagined not having my family nearby. I am constantly looking at flights home and then have to repeatedly remind myself that we live here. Not there. I can’t have one foot in one place and one in the other, as much as I’d like to. I’ve done that before and it’s torture, but you know what else is torture? Having a 3+ month old that my Mom and Dad have only seen once and that 3 out of 4 of my siblings have never met.

Moving back to Minnesota isn’t necessarily the answer either.  Jon would have to give up his career and never know ‘what could’ve been’.  We would have to give up living in a climate that we love and all the mountain activities that we enjoy.  Would it be worth it though, to raise Leo near close friends and family and give him a similar upbringing to what we had?

I DON’T KNOW!

That’s the problem you guys.  I don’t know what the right answer is.  Hence the night time paralyzation.  The reality is that I’m only familiar with one upbringing, which is my own, and no matter how many options are in front of us, one that I know isn’t going to happen is us moving to Ada and raising Leo in my parents house in a time before the internet and cell phones.

So.  It’s going to be different from what I know no matter what.

I realize that he’ll likely be fine (probably more than fine) no matter what.  In all honesty, it’s more about Jon and I than anything else.  What can we live with?  What can we live without? What are our expectations for our own lives and do they have to change now that we have a child?

The truth is, Jon and I need to sit down and get real about what’s really important to us and how we make those things a reality. Honest to goodness I want to make a vision board (don’t tell Jon, I’m going to try and trick him into it) and hang it somewhere so that every day we have a visual reminder of what’s really important. It was tough to map all of that out pre-Leo because you never know how parenthood will change you. Now that he’s here, and we understand more clearly the love we have for him and our willingness to sacrifice for him, we can start coming up with a plan.

Meanwhile, I’ll have to adjust to living with my heart in my throat and do my best to soak up every second of my time with Leo, and be ok with the fact that I don’t have it all figured out just yet (and never will).

Wait, you thought I would actually write a post and not include any photos?

Do you not know me at all?!

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“That glass coffee table is a mistake”, they all said.

“You’re going to regret that once you have kids.” they said.

Want to know how I got 30 uninterrupted minutes of laundry, kitchen cleaning and emails done?

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How do you like me now?